Remember the early years of YouTube? Compared to the onslaught of professional and unprofessional content available on the platform today, YouTube even ten years ago feels so innocent. So pure. A place for both bored teens to post silly videos of themselves doing stunts and for unknown artists to test out and share new material.
Marcel the Shell With Shoes On first won over the hearts of internet denizens back in 2010. The adorable character, voiced by the inimitable Jenny Slate, epitomizes an era of YouTube that I could very well be romanticizing: weird, quirky, and genuine. Now, 12 years later, the sweet shell is getting his own feature-length film.
The animated mockumentary follows the titular Marcel as he looks for his place in the world. The stop-motion film will also feature what feels like an autobiographical storyline about heartache and breakups, mirroring Slate and her ex-husband Dean Fleischer-Camp’s relationsip — the pair have worked on the character and story both before and after their amicable 2016 separation.
After the successful 2010 short, the duo developed three short films and two children’s books, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On: Things About Me (2011) and Marcel the Shell: the Most Surprised I’ve Ever Been (2014). In all three, Slate voices the character and Fleischer-Camp directs.
The new film, which premieres on June 24 by A24 will also features actors like Isabella Rossellini, with Rosa Salazar, Thomas Mann, and Lesley Stahl — and it’s already been getting winning reviews at film festivals.
Since their separation, Slate has married artist Ben Shattuck, and the two welcomed their first daughter Ida Lupine in February 2021. While promoting her Amazon show I Want You Back, Slate explained in multiple interviews that motherhood “really caught me by surprise,” noting that she thought she would get “sucked in” to the caregiver role.
Instead, she’s found the opposite, and that motherhood has helped her become the best version of herself, creativity and all. She even lets Ida guide the way, as she explained to Elle.
“How do I let my child’s sweetness and courage and curiosity be the torch bearer for how I want to be? A little baby has no need to be defensive or brag or to flatter. There’s a lot to learn from the tiny sage that is a baby.”
And apparently there is a lot to learn from a little shell trying to find his way in the world. Watch the full trailer for Marcel the Shell with Shoes On below.